Q&A- Coupon Fraud?

Question:  I was purchasing cereal and using coupons, but the cashier said I was committing ‘coupon fraud’ because I wasn’t purchasing the items pictured on the coupon. I told her that if it scans, then the store will be paid for the coupon. But she continued to cancel my items and coupon and said I could go exchange for the pictured items. Who was right?

Answer:  I to have had cashiers refuse to even scan my coupons because the photo does not match up.  When this has happened I have asked for a manager, and then I have been able to use the coupon.  But sometimes even the manager is not sure what the rules are.   I decided to become a better informed coupon shopper and find the answer out for myself. This is what I have found…

How to know if the coupon you have, will work on a product.

Most of use match up the picture on the coupon to the product we want to buy. What we don’t know is, most the time that coupon will work for more than one item in that product line. The company will normally put the photo of the most expensive item, so we match the photo with the item, not knowing any other way.
If you ever have a coupon and you want to see if it will work for an item look at the bar code on the coupon and the item. If the first 5 numbers match ( in photo 18000) then in most cases you are able to use that coupon for that item. If it scans with no “beeping” it will work.Make sure you read the wording on the coupon, and buy the correct size or number of items. When the wording on a coupon is vague this is a great tool to help you understand coupons. 
A few weeks ago I had a $5 Huggies gentle care coupon,  It was for $5 off huggies gentle care diaper care products.  I had one cashier tell me  it was only for diapers and I could not use it on wipes.   SO I called Huggies customer care line and asked them.  She said as long as it did not “exclude the item” and it scanned then I could use the coupon.  She did say that they leave it up to the store to decided if they will expect the coupon or not.  So if they  scan it and the Register does not beep, the store will get paid for that coupon.  But in the end it is up to the store to decided it they will let you use it or not.  
When ever you aren’t sure ask the manager to scan you coupon to see it is a “match”  or call the products Customer service line and ask if you can use that coupon.  I always try to “play by the rules” and be honest.  I have found it is always best to ask what the rules are both from the Manufacturer and the store.  I hope this information helps you all become more informed coupon shoppers!

8 Responses

  1. Great info! Thanks a lot! Never thought about the “expensive” pictured item before, that’s a great tip!

  2. thank you!! I have been waiting for this post. this helps A LOT!

  3. Great info, thanks for checking this out!


  4. Most the time the coupon actually says for a SPECIFIC product so if it says 1.00 off of softsoap body wash is it honest to use it on a 1.00 softsoap handsoap? I usually try to use it on the product it specifies but at Kmart when they were out of everything I would look at the barcodes and buy something else in the product line but the cashier wouldn’t let me she said it doesn’t matter if it “works” the coupon isn’t for that product. So you are saying if it works it is honest? Is that how everyone one feels, I want to be honest, but it is also a better deal a lot of the time if you don’t buy the specific two cereals they are talking about those aren’t the ones on sale of course.
    Just a question.

  5. Hi- thanks for the information!! This is great. I just was wondering about this because I read something on hotcouponworld about the DelMonte Fruit cups that are on sale right now at Safeway, Randalls, Vons and Genuardi’s. The coupon reads for DelMonte SuperFruit Cups, but the DelMonte Fruit Naturals are on sale and the register doesn’t beeb when you use the coupon. Hotcouponworld, made it seem like the coupon had to match exactly or it was coupon fraud. I was feeling bad about it but now that I know that they will get paid, I won’t feel bad. I haven’t ever read your blog before I found it through a link to your post at goodorfreedeals.blogspot.com. I will start reading your blog and put it on my reader. And I will post about this post and link it. Thanks- Monica @ http://www.Coupons-Feed-U.com

  6. Thanks for the great info~~

  7. Thank you for this information. I am new to the coupon world; and I’m actually finding it is very frustrating, and to date has shown minimal reward for all the time and effort it takes to get going…. all of these blogs make it look so easy; but when I go; even for a few things at a time; the deals don’t work out for me for one reason or another. I could list about 4 examples from this week of shopping alone. But my main question right now is; even when I use a coupon for the EXACT product purchased; that is within the expiration date and I have purchased the item; I find that the register often will STILL beep with some of those coupons. Then I have to show the cashier the item, etc… and the cashier will push some buttons so that the coupon will work. However, recently one cashier told me that when they override it like that – the store does not get reimbursed. Do you know why this happens sometimes; and what do you do or say when this happens?

  8. The Hendricks,
    I guess it is something that you have to decide on a personal level. I strive to be honnest in all walks of life…..that is why I took the time to talk to my managers and the Manufacturer…..when they both said it was ok then I felt like I was being honest. Get to know your local managers….see what they say….call the manufacturer. If the rules change and they make the coupons more item specific them …..and they no long scan or work…then I will be happy to change too.

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